Whenever a high-profile trainer puts a claim in on an underwhelming racehorse, eyebrows are raised and everyone starts contemplating what it is they didn't see that the trainer saw.
In that cross-sport comparison, Jonas Gustavsson is an overhyped thoroughbred that never finished in the money with the Toronto Maple Leafs; but now that the Detroit Red Wings inked him to a 2-year, $3 million free-agent deal to back up Jimmy Howard, the rest of the NHL is wondering what GM Ken Holland sees that they didn't.
To start with: The Red Wings are a slightly better team defensively than the Maple Leafs. But Gustavsson never seemed to mesh with the teachings of goalie guru Francois Allaire, so he'll come to work with Jim Bedard and the Red Wings staff.
It's a miniscule cap hit ($1.5 million) and could be a nice push for Jimmy Howard, who enters the last year of this contract before going UFA.
So, uh … does The Monster start the Winter Classic against the Leafs?
Meanwhile, via George Richards of the Miami Herald, a surprise from the Florida Panthers: Goalie Scott Clemmensen, soon to be 35, is back for a 2-year deal. From On Frozen Pond:
Financial terms were not available; Clemmensen made $1.5 million last season on a contract that averaged $1.2 million. Florida now has both of last year's goalies under contract. Jose Theodore is signed for one more season.
"Scott is a high-character, hard-working player who is a true professional in every sense," GM Dale Tallon said in a release. "He stepped in and played very well in some tough games for us last season, including recording wins against Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Jose, Washington and Philadelphia. We are very pleased to have him back with our club and look forward to his continued contributions to our organization both on and off the ice.
Theodore? Signed. Clemmensen? Signed. Jakob Markstrom? The Panthers' blue-chip goalie prospect in the AHL, signed through next season.